20140720

DIY Cream Cheese for Ketogenic Diet

I've spent at least two years trying to figure out a way to eat that settles a bad case of reflux. I tried Ayurveda, quit caffeine, citrus, chocolate and I've been doing a crummy job of quitting alcohol. I don't want to stop drinking wine. This month I'm trying out a ketogenic diet, mostly known for it's helpful benefits to folks with epilepsy.

Ketogenic diets create a shift in the body caused by seriously low carb consumption. The body becomes efficient at burning fat instead of carbs. Logically, it's a high fat diet: 3/4 fat, less than 1/4 protein, and less than 100 grams of carbs (from non starch veggies and no fruit). This diet excludes bread, grain and all variety of wheat.

I don't have epilepsy and I'm not doing it for weight loss even though that's often the outcome of a keytogenic diet. From the very first day on the diet my belly settled down and went quiet. As far as reflux symptoms which range from pain between the rib cage to hoarse voice, and gas, the only remaining symptom after five days is horse voice and it is subsiding. Here's the fun and kinda weird part, it's "on my diet" to eat bacon, cream cheese, fish, meats, heavy cream and butter. These photos show my homemade cream cheese which was seriously easy to make and came out fantastic!

The downsides of the keytogenic diet include over acidity, constipation and dehydration. It is not recommended full time. Most folks who use the diet it use it on and off. They put in periods of high carb consumption, especially if they're athletes. To combat the constipation I made the dehydrated crackers seen in the pic out of the pulp from my juicer, flax, garlic, a roasted red pepper, and a bit of molasses. They're pretty much all fiber and they're super yummy.

I don't like extreme diets and I won't be adhering strictly to this one because I learned what I needed to from it. Fats are not a bad thing. I have become more aware of the wonderful sources for fat like nuts, avocados, and olives. What surprised me is that I can eat a lot of fat and not get fat. But more importantly, I learned about and got good at eliminating starchy carbs and sugar which has made a big difference. A week on the diet had me learning the foods that have a lot of carbs and those that have none, and it made me aware of how easy it is to consume carbs in large amounts. It takes a real effort to eat a low carb diet.

I'll send another report on this in a week or two. Meanwhile, does anyone out there have a copy of the food fermentation potential table?

20140717

Man Discovers How Unproductive He is Without Caffeine

After 10 weeks of being caffeine free I came to the realization that I was not getting much done. Certainly busy work and mindless activities were no problem, but long concentrated work sessions were not happening. Here is to my return to the bean.

Greener Juicing

Greener Juicing by mikey and wendy
Greener Juicing, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

I have been making a effort to reduce the sweetness in our juicing and increase the greens. Our last one was a mix of spinach, celery and carrot and it came out great. This was also the end of our celery plants for the summer.

More Pom Pom's on irrigation

Wendy and I transplanted three Pom Pom volunteers across the yard and setup irrigation for them. These plants quickly grow to 8' tall and provide amazing white noise. Irrigation Installation for Pom Poms

Hummingbird Nest

Humming Bird Nest by mikey and wendy
Humming Bird Nest, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Found this while digging some trenches in the yard.

20140714

Mid-Year Book Count Check-in

It's July and I wanted to see how close I was to my goal of reading 100 books during 2014. It looks like I'm only at 36 books so I'll have to up my reading a bit. I did take nearly two month off from reading while we were traveling so I think the goal is still achievable. Thanks to Goodreads for keeping track of this.

20140712

Running - The Desert & The Rainforest

The shift from Washington State to New Mexico is radical - humidity to dry desert, canopy to open expanse. In WA I got some great elevation training. Where I run in NM its relatively flat.

Our first morning home Mikey and I went out for a run. Two days in the car left us wanting to move and exert ourselves. This morning we hit a familiar dirt road that we always enjoyed. The road was familiar but not the feeling we had running it. A short 4 mile run in the desert felt like 10 miles in Wa. Before leaving NM we'd become water efficient, I could run 10 miles on 20 oz of water, but not upon our return. I blew through 20 oz in just 4 miles. I guess this is good training for us. If we're ever to enter the big ultra races we'll have to be adept at all climates and environments. Who knows, a 50 miler in 2015? We'll see.

Things You Do With In laws: Go Shooting


High on the list of things that I don't ordinarily do is "go to the shooting range." I am no NRA card carrying member, hardly. I would be easier for me to align myself with the Quakers. In this unusual case, I went to the range to try out and get comfy with a new 9 ounce .22 calibor pistol that Mikey's dad bought us as a gift. The pistol is a great gift, its for camping, thus the light weight. It is seriously cute (in as much as guns can be cute) and it won't add excess weight to either of our backpacks. Before leaving I tried out a .45. Yikes!!!

20140711

Mesquite is Ready

Mesquite is Ready by mikey and wendy
Mesquite is Ready, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.

Our delicious gluten-free wild legumes known as mesquite are ready for harvest. I started picking my first bag today.

20140706

Seeing is Believing

People see what they want to. Or maybe its more accurate to say that people see what they are able to see. Today I ran across a blog and post by a woman named Patty who had visited Truth or Consequences. Her post makes me happy, mainly because she saw creativity, art, color, and raw, simple, beauty. She saw. Not everyone does. Many who drop into T or C snarl and complain until the day comes when they're due to leave. Others love town from the start. There are some that at first say things like, "I don't really get this place." Weeks later the same person says, "I bought a house!" Locals call this whoops I bought a house syndrome.  Here's the post, enjoy! 

20140704

Meet Stuart the Chipmunk

We were on a 11.4 mile day hike in the Enchantments (near Leavenworth, WA) when we met up with Stuart the chipmunk. We call him Stuart because the first alpine lake we came across was Stuart Lake. He is into nuts.

Reb Zalman 8, 28 1924 - July 3, 2014

(paraphrased from a text by Pir Zia Inayat Khan) 

Today the world lost a great soul. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi  passed away peacefully at his home in Boulder, Colorado, aged 89. Reb Zalman was the founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, the mentor of numerous rabbis, and a guiding light in the lives of innumerable souls.

Reb Zalman held the Sufi rank of Shaikh in his Order. In this capacity, Reb Zalman revived the legacy of Rabbi Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon and established a Judeo-Sufi branch of the Inayati lineage known as the Maimuniyya. 


I feel lucky to have sat with Reb Zalman a few times in this life. If you knew him I know you'll reflect on his life today. If not, this may be a good opportunity to learn more about him. His legacy will surely linger.  

Image: Reb Zalman with Ram Dass

20140703

Fairy Ring

The upside to a damp, dark climate... the fairy ring of mushrooms. Usually edible but I did not chance it.

20140629

Sufi : Environment

If you are not yet familiar, let me introduce you to Sufi, a international biannual journal containing the thought, reflections, poetry and imagery of spiritually oriented thinkers and feelers of the day. I am delighted to be in the good company of those chosen to fill the summer 2014 issue themed environment.

I read Sufi magazine like a waited for treat, I give it time and space. I assure that I have time to consider it too. Every issue leaves me with something to process. To share a peek of this issue with with you, in addition to my own contribution you may look forward to the opening article, Perspectives on Climate Change by Alireza Nurbakhsh, that clarifies the difference between ethical and spiritual perspectives on calamities brought about by human nature. A feature on the Kogi people of Columbia reminds that not all the human beings of this earth have left the garden of eden. This issue also contains an interview with Andy Goldsworthy and photo spread of his nature based work, and an interview with activist and ecologist philosopher Satish Kumar who talks about an ecological world view and the climate for discussions of alternatives to capitalism.

You may find yourself a copy at Sufi. I hope that you do.


SUFI offers new perspectives for becoming spiritually connected today. Diverse aspects of mystical thought and practice are presented accessibly in this international, biannual journal, through articles, interviews, poetry, narratives, art and reviews.

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Near TorC

We happened to be out of town for this one, but the talk of the area is the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that originated in Douglas, AZ yesterday. People definitely noticed it.

A lifetime ago... Moxie, The Floor Available on Amazon

I'm old enough to feel that I've lived several lives. I had more than one career and lots of adventures. I try to live my life honestly, to hear my own inner voice, honor it, ask what it wanted and follows the best that I can. As I reflect on this I can see that this is getting easier to do as I get older. This week I was reminded of one of the most enjoyable of adventures, the years that I spent playing bass, singing, and writing songs in New York with my band Moxie. The reminder came when someone from high school posted to Facebook the image of Moxie's first CD called The Floor. He wrote that he had just ordered it off of Amazon. Really!? I was stunned. The CD was produced in 1998, and the band broke up in 2001. I was stunned and immediately went about daydreaming about the crazy and wonderful days in Moxie. It all began shortly after college when my very best friend and I decided that the rat race would wait for us if we took a diversion. She had always been the best songwriter that I knew of. Farrell regularly had a guitar in her hand and her friends were grateful for it. I did not play an instrument so I went to the store and came back with a big red bass guitar. The project lasted about six years. Our songs wound up on shows like Dawson's Creek, Men in Trees and Joan of Arcadia. We shared stages with many greats. The whole adventure is a reminder that it is wise to dream aloud. I was not even a musician when we began. I started out only with friendship, and a wish. Here's our story. 


20140626

Illuminated Manuscript Multi Media e-Book


This year I participated in a new project, a multimedia book about wisdom. It contains the voices of a people who've put the cultivation of wisdom at the center of their lives, and sounds and images that are expressions of wisdom in medias, art, and music. This work is meant to reach the senses in ways that no previous book has. The contributions collected for it are sparks, open invitations rather than finished conclusions. They invite consideration, and trigger genuine heart centered reflection of the ways in which we may cultivate wisdom now and in our own lives. Taken to heart something new may be discovered. Please take a minute to look at the details of the Seven Pillars E-Manuscript, and consider supporting the work. There are many lovely gifts being given in thanks. - Wendy 

20140620

The Good Life Lab Wink's Remarkable Book Picks

Thanks to Carla at the super-duper, book adoring site Wink for choosing The Good Life Lab as a remarkable book this week. If you don't yet know about Wink, the site's specialty is books worth putting on paper. Every book featured is visually interesting, the kinda book one oogles over. I'm delighted to be in the good company of books like, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora, The Elements of Euclid, and Theodore Grey's The Elements. I am also delighted to be featured on Boing Boing. Yeehhaww.